Thursday, 28 August 2014

Anxiety, Depression and Social Media

Art Journal Page

Anyone heart that saying, "If you think nobody cares try not paying your mortgage for a month"? - Of course your bank/building society do not actually care about you at all, just about your money.  But.. how about trying this one.  Dont post, or 'like' on Facebook for a week and see who notices.  If like me, you have spent years spending each day trolling through and making sure your 100 or so contacts are all good, being sure to offer any comfort or support needed to each and every one of them... sharing in their grief and upset, being sure not to post about your own problems so as not to bore anybody, being sure not to even say much in order not to offend anybody........ sure I do not need to go on, any fellow anxiety sufferer knows all this already.
Art Journal page with collage

Out of all the contacts and 'so called' friends on my Facebook page there are only about 5 or 6 of them who are actually aware I suffer from depression, this is the first time I have made it public and as not so many read this blog (though I 'might' share it on Art101) its not likely they will.
What brought me to this confession here? well one reason was the sad death of the great Robin Williams, which at the very least should make this illness more public.  Secondly was a recent post by one of the artists in group 101, a fellow sufferer.  Lastly was the reason I was tipped over the edge last week by a contact on Facebook.  This person was not just a contact but someone I know in 'real' life and have supported for many years.  Needless to say she is no longer a contact or considered as a friend, of course she did not know how I was feeling but then she did not ask either, or consider my feelings in any way.  Some days later and a lot of thought maybe she has done me a favor? 
Large Canvas, work in progress...
Back to the point, so I have not posted or 'liked' on Facebook for five days now - I have not shown support, commented or been involved with anybody on (or off) social media.  So far how many people have noticed, after the years of support and concern.. the days of being so sad by what has happened in people's lives, who often I barely know...........  Okay I do have a couple more days to make it to the week but so far I have ONE person to thank, she knows who she is.
The same can be said for other media, I have done the same experiment on.

Before I go on (and on) any further I must get to what this has done for me, and hope this might do the same for others.  If you feel you can do the same experiment, and can cope with the fall out it might just help how it has for me.  I do not feel dejected or feel sorry for myself I just realised how much time I have wasted on others who are so self absorbed they have not even noticed - those hours per day I have wasted making sure everyone is ok and lending support that maybe was not needed by me? but has most certainly been a total waste of my time, and has affected my own well being.  If it was not for the art groups I enjoy on Facebook I would delete my account and never return.. now trying to work how best to improve things, first will be deleting a lot of contacts, but not sure what to do after that.........must say though............not reading my 'feed' each day is certainly making me feel better.

Before I leave today's confessional I would like to leave on a positive note.  I am currently reading two books that are a real revelation for anyone suffering from anxiety and depression, these are 'The Mood Cure' by Julia Ross, and 'Potatoes not Prozac' by Kathleen DesMaisons.  I am also reading an autobiography on Freda Kahlo which is just amazing, I have always loved her as an artist and cant wait to start the 'portraits with the masters' course in September as I know Jane Davenport is doing 'Freda'.  See, more time now without the social media thing...

Also doing much more art some of which will be added to my Etsy shop in the future, takes time though to cure and varnish things, then have them photographed and listed when I would rather be painting.  Here is my shop ETSY SHOP

One more thing (now I sound like Columbo) this was a great observation from an artist I watch on youtube also on the subject of social media, maybe she words it better than me The Frugal Crafter

Thank you to anyone who has read this far, and thank you to Iris who is usually the only person to comment:)


24 comments:

  1. Lynda *big hugs* I'm sorry you're dealing with depression. It's a dark place. Also a place I wouldn't necessarily swap though? I mean, if someone told me they could erase depression from my past, present and future I don't know... I want to do that myself, if that makes sense? I took prozac for a while about 8 years ago, and I found it an awful experience. Like being a zombie or something.

    The social media thing is a funny one. I've learned for myself that whatever I do (not just on social media actually), it has to be something I want to do without getting or expecting anything in return. Share to share, care to care, but if you need something back, then care for yourself in the first place. I've gone through long phases of not sharing online because I attached too much importance to what other people thought. It's difficult to not let it affect you though. Especially since it seems like online that some people just fart and get sixty gazillion likes and comments and other stuff just goes by unnoticed..

    Anyway, I hope you will feel better soon and please know that I care when you post and I like seeing you around online.

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    1. Excellent response, Iris. I completely agree that we have to take care of ourselves first. Otherwise, we have nothing to give others.

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    2. Iris, thank you. You always say the best of things, if you get some free time you should do a blog post on the topic they are fabulous words and very helpful to me and probably many others x

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    3. Iris you say things so well in response i dont feel i need to add! (esp the farting bit :-)

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  2. ((((hugs)))) There are times when I feel like abandoning Facebook too. It's difficult when one horrible person can ruin the day. Your absence was certainly noticed and you were sorely missed. I must look into that Potatoes to Prozac book. I really do believe that food has the capabilities of affecting our moods. Hope to see more of your beautiful girl faces soon! <3

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    1. Noticed by you Stephanie, thank you x. Also thanks for the group Art101 has some fab members and great artists. Its a good book and the food discussions in both are amazing, I had no idea about foods and the evil that is sugar.

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  3. I just replied but don't see it here. Maybe it needs your approval first? ;-) will see if I type this comment as the 2nd reply

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  4. Hi Lynda
    Sorry to hear that you suffer from depression. That sucks.
    I know just a little about it and how it is a dark and lonely place. Don't always know how to respond. Does that make sense?

    I know facebook and other social media can turn into a nuisance, make you feel bad, and even feel more alone. I struggle with the idea of how much time to put into all that (facebook and blog reading) stuff.

    You write as though you feel un-noticed. Well I may not have shown it here yet, but I did notice your blog. I was hear a few days ago - when I made my list of blogs to go to of fellow-challeng-artists and intend to return to read more posts.

    Thanks for sharing -both the good and the bad.

    Greeting from your fellow artist in the challenge,
    Corinne

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    1. Thank you Corinne. I know it is often a difficult thing to respond too, but often any response is better than none. (as long as its not 'pull yourself together'). You know I love your artworks too, always nice to admire a fellow collage bod.

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  5. Hi Lynda
    I am so sorry that this is the place you are in right Now. As we climb in this box with you and give you a hug, I hope that you know that sharing your story is the comfort that some will need the most. It is nice to know that you are not alone in suffering. You have been noticed prayed for and thought about. Please keep posting sharing and encouraging, although we live in a very selfish world, you may be the one person that God uses to rescue somebody. Keep writing, keep painting,
    And keep encouraging. Brandi

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    1. Thank you Brandi, interesting you refer to 'the box' thats often how I describe the feelings too. Appreciate your stopping by x

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  6. What a brave post! I'm sorry that you haven't been feeling well. I have chronic depression (diagnosed 23 years ago). Not only does it suck, but the fact that most people don't understand because they don't have the personal experience makes it double-suck! I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Hi Debbie, Sorry to hear you are a fellow sufferer. We can only hope that one day depression is recognised how it should be as the illness and unbalance it is. With such wonderful support here I am feeling much better already thanks x

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  7. Oh, and Iris's reply was awesome!

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  8. Lynda, I think you nailed the dynamics of FB, esp. how it influences our mood. I have also been drug down other others lack of interest, comments, etc....this is especially true when I have put myself out there like you did today with this post. This is why I wanted you to know I read it, I appreciate everything you shared, and to say you are NOT defined by likes on FB. In truth, most people are self-absorbed. Just take the "selfie" epidemic for example. It is a gift to see this truth but not hold any bitterness about it. To know that your value is not determined by your level of interaction and engagement on FB. Sometimes it is good to step away from FB for a time - does wonders to give us the freedom to just be ourselves. By all means, step away whenever you feel the negative thinking creeping up on you. Because it is a lie - one you should resist taking to heart! Keep on being your wonderful, creative self. Your life and art make a difference in mine. <3 Robyn

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    1. Robyn, you are such a kind person - thank you for dropping by and helping out x

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing from the depths of your soul... I have shared similar feelings and experiences. I have actually not been online much myself the past few weeks (except to plan a vacation) and will have even more limited access for the next few weeks so I've been going through my own, self-imposed to some extent, social media withdrawals... but honestly, the art groups/friends are the ones I have missed the most! I have local friends that use facebook a lot to make plans and I keep in touch with them whether on or offline. It can be such a crazy thing, the influence of the social abyss that is social media! I've learned it can be addictive and fuel anxiety through comparisons and envy (one of my friends called it "frienvy"). I was reluctant to share much online for a long time for these reasons. Realization is a huge step though! Which you have obviously had. Now, I try to utilize social media and I am grateful for all the new art friends I've made (since didn't have any before really), without getting too attached to the "feed" and "likes" and feedback... easier said than done sometimes, I know! I hope that you will find a balance that works well for you... with or without or with a little or a lot... of social media/online time. Even more, I hope I will continue to see your beautiful, soulful art being shared. You never know who and how it may touch someone! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and feelings and heart. Much love and well wishes to YOU!

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    1. What a beautiful comment to leave thank you so much. At this rate I will just use Facebook for the 101 group, I knew you were all lovely. Have a good vacation.

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  10. Hi Lynda. Yes, I think I understand what you're talking about. I go through phases where I'm very involved in social media, and other times when disappear completely or at least don't have the energy to "appear" in comments/likes/etc. I don't really take it personally when people don't notice my absence because I think social media has become so huge that it's really almost impossible to keep track of such things. But I think it's easy to overestimate the depth of "electronic relationships". I feel like it takes all of my energy and concentration to maintain my off-line relationships and when I get to caught up in the on-line drama it siphons what I have to give in the physical world.

    And depression and anxiety. So difficult to navigate those waters. I'm still trying to sort out what to do with my current bout. I'm considering going back on medication, but like Iris, I hate feeling so numb. It's a terrible choice to feel so overwhelmed with emotion or to feel no emotion at all. Ugh. Anyway, I'm glad that you're feeling clearer about what is good for you and what is not good for you as it relates to social media. I know that I would probably delete my account if not for a few online oases like this and the fact that my job requires me to have a Facebook account.

    Be well dear. And be kind to yourself.

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    1. Hi Terri, i think that is just it - some days it did take me so much energy to even hit the 'like' button let alone comment but often I would force myself to show what I thought was needed support, I do know I have lost so called friends for missing there status and updates on their lives. But also know they were not 'real' friends, same in the 'real' world really.

      I also know were you are coming from with the medication thing, I refuse to go down that route anymore - though I do know it works for many and indeed is necessary. I am taking amino's and supplements, also looking into dietary changes, and of course lifestyle ones.. very true that exercise and yoga are fabulous, though a real effort sometimes to keep up with.

      My recent experience has taught me who is important in my life and who is not and that some self care is (it seems) also necessary and not selfish after all.

      Hope to keep seeing more of you Terri, as you are most certainly missed I love your art.

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  11. Oh lynda
    So sorry to hear you have been struggling, and wanted to air my support here, and sorry if i havent always commented on blog posts etc. I dont suffer from depression, so cant even begin to understand how it must feel but you have my every sympathy and the girls above (iris esp) said it so well! X

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  12. So sorry to hear about your depression. I am always not very good at finding the good response to these kind of things. I have not noticed your absence but have not been around myself because of work and being very tired myself. Sending you lots of love and positive energy and put your energy nice things and surround yourself fun uplifting positive people. Wising you and all the other artsy friends all the best.

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  13. Thanks Lucy, much appreciated. Thanks Carla too, I know how busy you are with the job etc so good of you to take the time. Just realised I should have said I did not mean anyone from Art101, I havent known you lot for so long - I was referring to people I have known for years both on-line and some in life too. All the wonderful artists on our group are fabulous people too and have helped restore my faith that at least there are still genuine souls out there - seems I just need to adjust the people I mix with.

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